Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: An Intro to Paper Mache

Go here to see more Wordless Wednesday submissions.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tackle It Tuesday: small but needed

OK, this probably is the smallest tackle I've done but I find that it's made me smile everytime I've open that cabinet door since. I have a funky little sink in the corner of my kitchen. The up side? Two beautiful high windows. The down side? A deep, dark, dank space where things can be lost, fall over, etc. So, I give you....the sink!

Before:

Half these supplies came with the house 2+ years ago and I've never used them! Ugh!

And, then, the after...with two simple plastic shoeboxes. Clutter contained. Peace restored. And, I'm able to find everything without digging around in a dark under-cabinet! Yea, me! LOL

Go visit 5 Minutes For Mom today for more tackles!

Could this be ANY cuter? LOL

Got a new site in my Bloglines organizer for a "freebies" site for kids. This is what I got from my link today:

Weekend Hair "Tackle"

We tried four ponies.

We tried
five ponies.

Then, we tried the death-defying...well, at least wiggle-defying, TEN ponies this weekend! LOL

Thanks again to Lara who has revolutionized "hair-doing"at this house! *wink*

Passing the Blessing Along

Last Thursday, Anita made my week by acknowledging me with this:

Now, while she mentioned something about me an encourager, I wasn't sure if I in turn was to honor someone who I felt was the contemplative-type of thoughtful or the considerate-type of thoughtful so I figured I'd have one of both! LOL

I checked both of these ladies' blogs and didn't see this banner displayed anywhere so (for once) I may be the first person to acknowledge them but here are my two:

While Laurel could qualify in either category, especially since she takes time to make sure I know she's thinking about and praying for me, she is especially good in the contemplative-thoughtfulness category. I admire how she sees God, His glory, His blessings, His creation, and His message for her all around her on a daily basis. I desire to be that "in the moment" and aware of His presence on a minute-by-minute basis.

And, GiBee,...well, she is the considerate-thoughtfulness type to a "T". And, while she loves her Lord, isn't afraid to shout it out, and will defend Him to the end, she is considerate and concerned enough to follow up, clarify, and minister to those she thinks she may have irked, offended, or been misunderstood by. And, she does it all in a Christ-like way. Another trait I desire for myself.

These ladies bless my bloggy-side of life and have me hoping that I can also bring these good qualities of theirs into my daily non-bloggy life as well!

Pass The Torch - a little early

Pojke's chatting up a stuffed animal in his crib. Flicka is still sawin' logs in her tent- don't ask! LOL And, I know Pass The Torch Tuesday isn't 'til tomorrow but I wanted to jot this down today before I forget.

Flicka has becoming "me" more and more in the last 2 weeks or so. "Cooking" in her kitchen, pushing her babies in a stroller, feeding them, even "nursing" them (good grief!)! LOL She walks around the house with a purse stuffed with treasures, carrying a baby doll, a pad of paper, and a pen and tells me, "I'll be right back, Momma, I'm goin' to the store. You need anything?"

But, she absolutely side-swiped my heart the other evening as we did our nightly "snuggle" before bedtime. This precious 5-10 minutes is spent in the normally uninteresting place of Mom and Dad's bed. (Having unintentionally "conditioned" her that snuggling there means nap time or bedtime, we get few unannounced visits since that would mean Flicka would actually *want* to go to bed! LOL)

Anyway, she had brought her baby doll and was "rocking" it as I read her a story. As I finished one book and reached for another, Flicka begins singing softly. It took me a second to catch it but, hey, for a 3-year-old, she has a pretty good sense of tune! *wink* Must have got THAT from her father! LOL

I paused as she seemed engrossed, whispering this song in her dolly's ear...and it hit me. I hear her sweet no-longer-toddler-but-ready-for-preschool voice singing...

"...sunshine...you make me happy...when sky is gray...how much I love you..."

*sniff, sniff*

"Baby, do you know that's the song Momma used to sing to you when YOU were a baby?"

"yep, that's where I learnt it."

"Baby, you're gonna be a great momma some day."

"I know."

*sigh*


Stop by Kelly's today and see what other torches are being passed.

Da Hubby would never forgive me...(updated)

...if I didn't enter this contest.

Yea, yea, yea...I know. Another contest giveaway. Ya'd think I'd have learned by not winning a thing after spending an unmentionable amount of time on
Shannon's mega-list of giveaways last week.

But, I could already "see" DaHubby droolin' over this one...

5 Minutes for Mom is giving away a 37″ Flat-Panel LCD HDTV from Best Buy - DaHubby's 2nd favorite store after Lowes...both stores who by the way need to have a "widows' lounge" so that those of us who mistakenly stumble after our hubbies into these stores of manliness have some place to sit and wait for them! LOL

However, since there are over 600 entries at this point and since there's about 2 1/2 more weeks until the drawing, I'm not holding my breath. But, hey, free is free and SOMEBODY'S gotta win, right? Right? Right?


Update: OK, at least THIS part's for me. Just saw that Beth is giving away a Febreeze sample so go there too and sign up for this as well!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

It's been nearly a month but...

...it's been one of those things I keep meaning to get to but haven't. I'm usually better about thank you notes and the like...I swear!

As part of the 5 Minutes For Mom Fourth of July giveaway, I was the winner of a nifty new t-shirt from "Living the Dream." I thought the shirts were funny and cute and a little sarcastic - which completely won me over! LOL

So, can I say...I LOVE the shirts! Yes, that's "shirts" as in multiple singles! LOL

Well, first, I had to pick out which of the six pictures on wanted. It was a toss-up: I *really* liked the laundry and mini-van ones. DaHubby thought I should get the referee one! LOL I ended up choosing the mini-van one.

Then, the choice of color. Being a bit of a tomboy, I asked them if the mini-van shirt was available in something other than shades of pink and pastels! They were awesome about my request and suggested one in coral. By the time I got a chance to email them back saying I'd take a blue one, they had already sent out the coral one.

But, the price was right so I didn't complain but then they sent me the blue shirt too!

How's THAT for customer service!?

Anyway, within a week, I was the happy owner of TWO Living The Dream shirts. And, can I say something else? I've worn them everywhere! I'm trying to drum up business for them wherever I go! LOL And, I normally do laundry on Mondays and Fridays and those two shirts are the first ones I grab on Tuesday and Saturday! (And, it's the one I'm wearing in that pic at the top of my right column...although you can't see it entirely.)

So, a big THANK YOU to Living the Dream! And, to 5 Minutes for Mom! I'm very, very, very happy with my prize!

Friday, July 27, 2007

And the winner is...

Since I hadn't gotten any comments since about 1pm EDT, DaHubby and I went ahead and closed the giveaway. We then went over to Random.org, entered the pertinent info, and got us a winner!

Out of 93 comments (thank you, Jesus!), Random.org picked #29 who turned out to be...
Diatribal! And, I've sent her an initial email via her blog.

Thanks to everyone who participated and showed interest! Your comments were a blessing and an encouragement to us! And, if you didn't happen to win, feel free to contact me
here, Da Hubby here, or go to northernbranches.com and poke around. DaHubby will have those 10 and many more photos up for purchase shortly.

How is it that...

...just when you are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and in serious need of collapsing into bed for several days something like this shows up on your radar? *wink* Apparently not only God has perfect timing! LOL So, who is this lady talkin' about?

"..an encourager, a true Barnabas. I know she's a busy lady, but she consistently makes time to visit her friend's blogs and leave them an encouraging comment. She is always honest but considerate of others..."

Apparently, that's Anita's description of me as a result of blessing me with the Thoughtful Blogger award. Who'da've thunk? LOL

And, as seems the case with other folks who have won similar awards, I roll my eyes to myself, blush, and think "wow, if she only knew!" LOL

This "discrepancy" we sometimes feel has been on my mind recently. I've been torn between Anita's feelings about the blogosphere here and Jules words about it here. Has my blogging experience made me a better person with greater faith, more hope, and more peace in my walk with Christ due to meeting others like me and who "get" me. Or, is blogging (like many things on the Internet) a "false front" that builds a sense of intimacy that is only an illusion?

I can only speak to my experiences - as rookie as they may be - and say I much more agree with Anita. While we as bloggers edit our thoughts and writings through our own biases, experiences, and filters, you still can't get more real and honest as some of the things my Faithprints alum and those I've met since arriving here at Blogger have shared.

Moments of doubt. Joys. Sorrows. Questions. Panics. Prayers. Health concerns. Loss of love ones. It doesn't get much more "real" than that. And, as a result, I feel like blogging has connected me more to "the Church".

Anyway, I said all that to say this: Anita's honor to me probably means more to me than any other acknowledgement I've received here. Knowing that I've been seen as an encourager, that I'm helping the Church in even a little way, that I'm trying to "walk the Walk" Christ has given me in His grace makes all the other "stuff" that tries to steal my attention and my joy from my love of Christ and my family dim in comparison!

Thanks, sweet Anita. I'm honored. And, once I get one more night of good sleep and a few hours peace of tandem Vikings naps, I'll gladly pass it along!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Brain Freeze

Too much to do
Too many giveaways to visit! *wink*
Too many emails waiting
Too many posts to prepare
Too much housework
Too many decisions
Too many hormones this week *sigh*
Too few Vikings naps
Too many late nights
Too much running around
Too few meals at home
Too little caffeine
Too much "junk"
Need time
Alone
Quiet
Need sleep
Soon!
Zzzzz

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Odd Man Out

OK, I'm feeling like I'm really gonna rain on someone's parade! LOL Via BooMama's site, I got hooked up with this giveaway (yea, ANOTHER giveaway...but nearly as cool as THIS one or this one *wink*) and received this new CD Monday.

I must be SERIOUSLY outta the loop on Christian music since I had never heard of these guys (and apparently most of the Christan mommy bloggy world has) but I'm a former music fanatic so a free CD to review before it's actually released in September was all the "motivation" I needed! Kudos to the label and PR folks! This was an AWESOME idea to create buzz!

Anyway, I've listened to this CD 4-5 times since its arrival and I'd have to say (and my apologies to the 99 people who seemed to LOVE it)...I'm feeling, well, blah.

While it seemed well done, well played, and well sang, I feel like I had heard it all before. I kept thinking of bands and groups I knew that already sounded like this. Songs from Big Daddy Weave (minus the saxophone), Andrew Peterson, and Big Tent Revival kept coming to mind. And, I'm a nut about music with excellent complicated harmonies and this just didn't do it for me.

The songs' messages were fantastic, faith-filled, and fun but (again) nothing really "new" to excite me. While I'm glad I participated in such a cool concept and I encourage those who like the above artists to give it a try, this probably won't make the "Magic 6" CD's I keep in the mini-van's player that I listen to over and over!

Here's a link to a promo video with snippets of the best songs on the album...don't take my word for it. I'm 1 critic out of 100! LOL Check it out yourself!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wordless Wednesday



For more Wordless Wednesdays, go here.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tackle It Tuesday - another kitchen project

Well, I've been looking at these potentially wonderful glass cabinets in my kitchen since we moved in in 2005. But, I've had NO idea what to do with them or what to display in them.

They had become one fo those dangerous "catch all" areas that professional organizers warn us about. So, I finally had enough. I still don't know exactly what I'm going to do with it long-term but it definitely looks better than it did this time last week! LOL

The before shot:














The after shot:

A BWCAW-themed Giveaway

Update: Giveaway closed as of 7pm EDT. Go here to see the winner!

I'm joining in (late - but better late than never) with Shannon for her awesome idea for a mass giveaway of freebies! LOL So, for my Viking version of the Dog Days of Summer giveaway, I'm giving away DaHubby...not! *wink* Not him but one of his awesome pictures!

We've been trying to start up an online business for this but it's taken a back seat lately with all that's been going on. We created a special webpage
here to display 10 of DaHubby's best photos from his 2006 trip to Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (including my banner photo above).

One winner will be chosen from the comments received on this post. I will close voting at 10pm EDT Friday and post the winner ASAP after that.

The winner will be able to select one photo of the ten to be printed in ANY size from 4" X 6" to 20" X 30". Due to the out-of-pocket cost to us for printing as well as shipping, I am only able to open this giveaway to U.S. and Canadian residents (there ya' go, Anita! *wink*)


As a winner, I would need to request your "snail mail" address to ship you the photo so if you are uncomfortable with that, please don't enter this giveaway.

And, of course, should you NOT win and still want one of the pictures, you are more than welcome to email me next week and be honored as our first "official" paying customer! *wink*

So, once you leave a comment here, click back to Shannon's place and see the other 180+ giveaways underway! Wa-hoo!

God's Fingerprints - part five - the finale

You can read parts one, two, three, and four if you are interested.

Since the people with who I interviewed mentioned the other candidates were coming in on Monday as well, I expected to hear from someone maybe by Wednesday. But, Wednesday turned to Thursday which turned to Friday. Friday morning, I couldn't stand it any longer. I called Aerotek.

I got voice mail. *sigh* So, I left a message and went on with my day. It seemed like I had spent the last four weeks waiting for the phone to ring from Aerotek or Whirlpool! LOL

Finally, the phone rang. I was so geeked!

"Beth, they chosen to go with the other candidates."

In my head..."WHAT!?"

I was so confused. Stunned. In shock. Disappointed. This was NOT supposed to be what she was telling me! This is NOT how this was supposed to go!

Luckily, I was able to keep it together and keep my voice even. I told DaHubby later that it was almost like she was waiting for my reaction so she could assess me even further than she possibly could have done from a standard interview. In addition, I almost felt bad for HER. She seemed so miserable just having to be the one to tell me.

The other two candidates had technical experience. So, those two men were better qualified for those two positions.

She went on to ask me if I was interested in a clerical/administrative part-time, short term job for half the money and half the hours. A small pre-saved part of me (just for a second *wink*) wanted to tell her what she could do with THAT job offer but instead I told her thank you and that I'd call DaHubby and see if that was something we'd be interested in doing. Well, could I call her by the end of the day because she was leaving for vacation? *sigh* Yea, sure. I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

I stood there after I hung up the phone. Stunned. What had just happened? Where was God in this? Nothing is more powerful than Him - so He had this happen for a reason? But, what reason?!

What had I done? What had we done? Or NOT done? What are we going to do?!

Oh, Lord! I had to call DaHubby!

And, he didn't take it well.

Then, I called DaGrandma to tell her that while I *really* appreciated her offer to watch the Vikings 'til Labor Day that we wouldn't need her to any more. "Well, that's a dirty, rotten trick" was just one of the things she had to say about it. LOL

My mom and step-dad were surprised as well. My mom went into "momma mode" - told me that I was still brilliant, still perfect, still all those things a momma thinks of her baby. LOL

So, we'll be still in debt...greatly. More cost-cutting, trimming budget fat for us. How depressing.

And, I thought of this yesterday - this hurts more than any other job situation like this in two ways. One - this is the first job in a long time that I have gotten this far and not gotthe job and this was also the time I was the most "real" and myself. *sigh* Probably an unfair but nonetheless obvious "coincidence".

And, second, how could I have read God's signs so wrong? Did I? I thought my level of discernment was gaining maturity. What if I've been wrong about other things too? I kept praisin' what seemed to be God obvious provision. But, now what do I tell people? That I was wrong? Since God's never wrong, it has to be me.

There has to be something better coming...there HAS to be! This is another season of preparation. Several years of infertility taught me (among other things) patience. I must press on. This is NOT the end of the world. In the realm of the things going on in this world, this barely registers notice. But, it was still important to me. And, God knows that as He knows my heart and He knows all things.

So, I wait.

Psalm 25.5: Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You [are] the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.

What's Appropriate?

Feeling a little confused after the weekend. Da Hubby and I have been hashing over an issue since Saturday afternoon and I still haven't come to any sort of resolution. So, I figure I'll throw it out to you ladies (I say "ladies" since I think DaHubby is my own male reader! *wink*) and see what you think...

Saturday morning DaHubby and I decided to take Flicka for her first lengthy canoe paddle. Leaving near Lake Michigan and one of its lovely tributaries has its advantages! LOL So, we made the necessary arrangements for Pojke to spend the afternoon with DaGrandma who was going to be baking goodies (rough life, huh? LOL) and the three of us rigged up the car and the van to be canoe-ready, dropped off the van at out exit point and we were off to our entry point!

We drove a couple miles out of town to a local river access park. Flicka was nearly vibrating from excitement. It was gonna be a great day! While DaHubby unloaded the gear, I got Flicka all greased up with sunscreen. We finished getting everything we needed in the boat, got Flicka settled in her "canoe chair" DaHubby set up for her with strict instructions to never, ever, ever stand up, and we were off!

The paddle was wonderful! The weather perfect! Flicka actually sat still and "helped" paddle (by dragging another paddle along side the canoe and splashing a bit LOL). We got out and stretched our legs about 2/3 of the way. The last 1/3 was a little rough on Flicka but we saw blue herons, fish, LOTS of geese, ducks, birds, etc. so she was mildly occupied.

Three hours from when we started we pulled into our exit point's boat ramp and began to load up the van for the trip back to get the car. Then, I noticed it...

My wedding ring was gone.

I had taken it off and set it next to me to put the sunscreen on Flicka...and left it on the dock at our entry point! *sigh* I immediately told DaHubby - who, let me tell ya', is an absolute saint in situations like this! "It'll be alright. It's OK."

We hurriedly packed up and rushed back to the original park. Meanwhile, I'm trying not to cry and hyperventilate. Flicka is starting to pick up that something's wrong. I had even went to my knees near the back of the van to pray.

We arrived back at the entry point to no ring. It was gone. And, I fell apart. But, thanks to DaHubby's low-key reaction, I began to wonder...as a Christian, what was an appropriate level of upset-ness for something like this?

The ring is still a "thing". It's just "stuff" as DaHubby and I have called things before. It's replaceable. The kids are healthy. We're healthy. We have a roof over our heads, food to eat, family that loves us, and, most importantly, we still have our faith and salvation in Christ.

But...

That ring already has SUCH sentimental value even for us only being married 6 years. DaHubby drew a picture in the sand one weekend after we met and said THAT'S the ring he wanted for me...and then FOUND IT after scouring half a dozen jewelry stores.

We had a lot of "fives" connected to our meeting...we met on 5-25, 5 weeks later he proposed, 5 weeks after that I quit my job and moved across the state to be near him, we were married on 5-5 of the following year. My ring has five little stones on each side of the main one.

And, that ring symbolized to me all the amazing transformations and healings God worked in both of us from the day we met until our first anniversary. DaHubby was my answer to prayer and that ring was my symbol of that. *sigh*

So, I still have Christ but I have no ring...so what's an appropriate level of "mourning" over things? I would feel ridiculous complaining about this ring to someone like Heather with her recent cancer struggles or to a family member whose possibly looking at a second melanoma diagnosis.

Another thought - I was SO surprised/impressed/moved/horrified at a funeral DaHubby and I attended pre-Vikings with his parents at a super-traditional Pentecostal/Apostolic church where they were literally singing and praising God that their loved one had joined Jesus in heaven. Barely a tear in the place and many smiles to behold. How silly it seems in light of that to be upset over this ring.

But, it's mmmyyyy ring (*whine*)...

So, sisters in Christ, counsel me. What's an appropriate level of upset-ness?

Friday, July 20, 2007

I Love a Good Clearance Sale!

Was poking around through PayPerPost and saw an opportunity to talk about coupon codes and getting good deals online. As a complete sucker for all things clearance and on sale, I did some further investigation! LOL

Through this site, KeepCash.com, you can find a small variety of coupon codes, deals, and online coupons like other sites. But, look at this DEAL I found!!

One of
KeepCash.com deals right now is with TimeLife. Not normally a merchant I jump up and down about. *wink* Aren't they the ones that get all the old, washed-up rock singers and Brady Bunch stars to wax nostalgic for the 70's? LOL But, my subscription for Time magazine is up for renewal so I thought I'd see if there were any subscription discounts to be had.

Time Life's clearance rack right now includes Cedarmont Kids DVD's for $4.99
! Wow! My longtime fave for low-cost Christian anything is usually Christian Book Distributors but even THEIR sale price for some Cedarmont stuff is running around $8.99 for the same DVD.

Apparently, KeepCash.com is updated daily - it even has an RSS feed! LOL Not THAT'S frugal-ness at an extreme! LOL


So, if you are interested in Cedarmont stuff or maybe Raffi or "100 Classics for Kids," go check out KeepCash.com for their links to some great deals!

God's Fingerprints - part four

Here are parts one, two , and three if interested...

I came home walking on cloud nine! Isn't God great! Good grief! They were suggesting an hourly rate that was TWICE what I made my last year teaching and $3/hr more than DaHubby makes as an engineer with nearly 15 years experience! For technical writing and proofreading! Full time! Short term contract - only 6 months! Could it have been ANY more perfect!?

I was home about two hours and the phone rang. It was the original Sister I had offered to help with her maternity leave. She called to tell me that I should be hearing from Whirlpool HR shortly.

"Wow, I just talked to Aerotek this morning. That was fast!" I chuckled.

Silence on the other end of the phone. She didn't know to what I was referring. She was calling to tell me that there was a SECOND once-in-a-blue-moon position...for a trainer! And, I had a teaching degree!

I was praising God on the sidewalk out in front of my house! Yea, God!

DaHubby and I went to bed that night with dreams of an second paycheck dancing in our heads. This 6 month contract would get us almost entirely out of debt with the exception of the house and van! I laid in bed that night making mental notes about solutions for day care/preschool for the Vikings, did I have non-mommy clothes that even fit anymore, etc.

I struggled for several days (which seems silly now) with whether this was God's will. Or, was this a "distraction" and temptation to relieve our financial strain from the devil dressed up as answered prayer to get me out of the house?

So, the rest of that week passed...

The following week was the holiday week. Found out that it was hard for a big corporation like that to get much done with half its staff taking Monday and Tuesday off and the other half taking Thursday and Friday! *wink* Meanwhile, DaHubby and I are sharing our story about God's providing power to everyone we know - despite having received an email during this week that indicated that Whirlpool was taking an internal applicant for the trainer position.

The THIRD week started and FINALLY Aerotek called to arrange the second interview...which was this past Monday. I was to speak with the supervisor that I would be directly under and her supervisor as well.

That interview, as was the case before, was covered in prayer: mine, DaHubby's, both our families, church family, blog family, you name it. We had everyone and anyone lifting this up to God.

I had been very upfront about my lack of "technical" experience but they seemed very happy with my teaching experience, my secondary language arts certification, and personal writing and computer experience. And, they surprised me by saying that there were actually TWO positions open and that they had other candidates to interview. Things seemed to go so well - including a discussion about a piece of Bible software that shows an original translation in Greek! LOL

Despite my initial nervousness, I came out feeling that God's fingerprints were all over this meeting as well and began seriously calling around and making arrangements for the Vikings.

To be continued...

Ponies For Flicka - part two

Our first attempt yesterday. And, our attempt today:



Thank you again to Lara. I have a ways to go to get as straight of lines as she did.

But, we'll work at! *wink*

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Small Posts, Full Pockets

I haven't broadcast it much but I participate with PayPerPost. I usually post those on the weekends since I've felt moderate guilty about having "advertising" or paid stuff on my blog. LOL

PayPerPost maintains a list of opportunities from advertisers who hope you will check out their objects- or services-for-sale and help create a "buzz" about them by blogging about them.

I saw PayPerPost's ad on another blog. It is definitely not a Christian-only site but there are several ways to find posts suitable for sites I like to frequent. Plus, assuming the free market system works as it's designed, if folks take enough of the non-racy opportunities then there may be more to pick from in the future! LOL

My goal was to snag one a week. I haven't met that goal but it wasn't from a lack of opportunities. And, even though I haven’t kept pace with my goal, I’ve made enough pocket change to keep my PayPal account “pudgy” with funds which helps feed my Ebay addiction! LOL

I also have used those “nickels and dimes” for fundraisers like this and this. It was wonderful knowing I had that little extra padding outside the household budget to give to those causes.

Ideally, the money was to be used for homeschooling supplies for this fall. However, with that plan temporarily on hold, that money is just sittin’ there waiting for the next Ebay deal to strike! LOL

If you are interested in an opportunity like this, check on this site at
PayPerPost and poke around. Even if you don't have a blog, they'll help you out! You might find it’ll work for you!


A WFMW Success Story

I love instant gratification! LOL I often copy down, print out, or save to my favorites others' Works For Me Wednesday ideas. Some I try but sometimes Ijust never get to or forget about the others. Here's one I found yesterday...and we tried it immediately today upon returning home from Dollar General just now! LOL

Flicka is SO thrilled that she had me to it to her favorite doll afterwards! LOL

We simply bought these:

And, the result:
Many, many, many thanks to Lara aka "The Lazy Organizer" for this tip!

God's Fingerprints- part three

See part one and part two if interested...

Then, about 6 weeks ago one Sunday evening at service, I noticed a fellow Sister who was reaching the end of her pregnancy. She works at a clerical job at Whirlpool whose world headquarters are situated here locally. I felt impressed to go speak with her. I asked her if her maternity leave had been covered yet. She said no. Then, I suggested an offer: how about *I* work for her? Six to eight weeks of work would help out our family budget and she wouldn't have to worry about her position being "taken" when she got back since *I* didn't want it! LOL She seemed interested and suggested I send her a resume the next day.

So, I dusted off my most recent one, updated with as much new information as I could think of to justify my last 6 years out of the work force, and emailed it to her at work. She passed it along to Whirlpool's internal temp agency, Aerotek. For a variety of reasons, Whirlpool was not interested in taking me up on my offer but Aerotek DID call and suggest I finish the intake process.... just in case. But, the contact person said, "don't hold your breath though. We get openings that you are qualified for once in a blue moon. But, you never know."

I was a little confused and, to be honest, disappointed. I was "sure* God meant for me to make that offer but I put it on the back burners of my brain and moved on. I still had (too many) bills to pay.

Two weeks later, Aerotek called. They caught me trying to dump the kids in the pool one afternoon.

"Beth, you're never gonna believe this...it must have been a blue moon! Youmust have someone looking out for you!"


I just laughed...if she only knew!

Aerotek had an opening that was right up my professional alley so to speak! LOL Was I interested in a temporary full-time contract?

In my head which has been muddled the last few years by too much kid-stuff and too little sleep, I couldn’t muster up enough brain cells to go into “interview” mode so I just continued to deal with the kids and I decided to be blunt, honest, and myself for a change! LOL What a concept!

Why did I quit working: “Because I waited a long time for the right guy to come along. And, once I found him and we got married, we wanted babies right away. Then, once we had babies, I wanted to stay home with them.”

Why did I want to go back to work: “well, I don’t really. But, there are some financial worries we could fix with some additional income.”

If Whirlpool offered me this job, would I take it: “well, I’d have to talk to my husband to make sure we’re on the same page with everything but, yes!”

And, on it went…

DaHubby and I talked and talked and talked that day, evening, and night. After that and discussion with other folks whose opinion we trust, we decided we’d go for it!

Within less than two days, I was sitting in Aerotek’s office

I had prayed in the parking lot before entering the building that morning, “please, Lord…I SO out of practice for this. You KNOW I’m bad at this. Who KNOWS what is gonna come out of my mouth sometimes! You are SO gonna have to talk through me because I just don’t know what to say.”

And, of course, He was right there with me through the WHOLE thing! LOL Intelligent, polite, knowledgeable words just spilled (in proper amounts with an appropriate level of enthusiasm) out of my mouth. I was stunned and, of course, pleased with every answer He gave me! If you don’t have ADD this may be a little hard to understand! LOL

About an hour later, at the end of the interview…”well, Beth, y’know Whirlpool gives me a checklist of the specific things it is looking for in a candidate. You have almost everyone of those things for this job.”

“Well, I’m a masochist…what DON’T I have?” I said laughingly and then thought “oh, crud! Don’t get her to focus on what you DON’T have, you dope!”

Luckily, she laughed and said, “just the technical experience but they realize that’s something that’s teachable and trainable.”

“You know, Beth, with your background and experience, I have no problem asking Whirlpool for the highest hourly amount they’re offering.”

God’s fingerprints were all over that whole morning…

Thursday Thanks Tank

Inspired by Peach and the ladies of Thankful Thursday - hosted this week by Laurel.

I'm gonna take this on a little different "bunny trail" this week. LOL Have you ever had your pastor preach a message you felt like he/she did because he/she had spoken to you that week and was using something you said or something that's going on in your life to create the message? LOL Well, last night that happened to me! If no one else had shown up for midweek service, that message would have been "just mine"! *wink*

So, for today, I'm SO very thankful for my pastor! Hooray for this man of God! And, how he can manage to get 40+ minutes of material out of 3 verses amazes me! *wink*

All the following "nuggets" are from Colossians 1.9-12. These nuggets hit me right between the eyes, inspired me, convicted me (just a bit! *wink*), gave me peace about our pending changes, and changed around my whole rotten attitude I had all day yesterday. I'm thankful for them all:

1. Saying "what's God's will for me?" focuses too much on the "me". If you simply pray "what's God's will?", your part in it will become clear.

2. The highest kind of knowledge is the knowledge of what God wants.

3. The will of God is not always easy, but it is ALWAYS right!

4. You will often receive knowledge from God in a series of events around you and/or in your life as opposed to a direct answer to "what's Your will, Lord?"

5. God WANTS to tell you something - and it may come from the most unlikely of sources...even an unbeliever, critic, or enemy.

6. If we insist on skipping right to His answer with regards to our prayer request, we bypass the character building that He wants for us in waiting on Him.

7. God's will is going on all around you! He never stops - He's just waiting for you to see, hear, and understand.

8. A life that is worthy and pleasing to Him doesn't come from trying harder...it comes from trusting God!

9. What are the signs of someone who is supercharged with the awesome power of God? They have patience as it applies to problems and endurance as it applies to people.

10. The last characteristic of a worthy and pleasing life? GIVING THANKS! *wink*

So, visit Peach today to see what she's listed and also stop by Laurel's place today for Thankful Thursday. She even has cookies!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

WFMW: Chicken Fat Removal Tip

(I'm gonna LOVE seeing what Google Search hits I get with THIS post title! LOL)

As a homemaking and cooking rookie a few years ago, I never know if sharing tips that have been given to me either show what a rookie I still am because "well, duh! everyone knows that" or if it's something that could be useful to someone else! LOL

So, at the risk of lookin' silly, here goes!

I often make chicken broth from "leftover" chicken dinners. At first, I'd get really frustrated the next morning using a spoon to try to get all the congealed fat off the top of the broth before putting it in freezer-friendly containers.

Then, someone told me about...wax paper! LOL

Cut a piece of wax paper to the approximate shape/size of the container that's going in your fridge overnight for the first cooling. The next morning - pull off the wax paper to which ALL the fat has stuck! Ta-da!

I've also forgot to put the wax paper on the night before but I've figured out that if I tear small strips of wax paper and lay 3 - 5 of them across the top in sequence, I still get about 80% of the fat out.

Less fat in my soups makes my waistline happier! Works for me!

Shannon sponsors Works for Me Wednesday. Visit her site today for more great ideas!

Linky Love and Thank You!

OH! MY! WORD!

Can I say that I have never tried a recipe recently that went over SO well with DaHubby, Flicka, Pojke, DaGrandma, and DaPapa all in one day?! *wink*

THANK! YOU! SHARON!

We tried her Mountain Dew Pound Cake. DaHubby L.O.V.E.S. Mountain Dew and doesn't get it often since I can't stand the stuff and, of course, I do all the shopping! The original plan was to have it ready when he arrived home from his weekend away. But, when he came home 18 hours early and in the middle of the night (LOL), I missed the chance to do it for him.

So, I tackled it yesterday! But, initially all I saw was the ingredient list. And, unfortunately, I didn't read carefully enough and I'm still a rookie with desserts and....ARG...I don't own a bundt pan or a tube pan! *sigh* So, after consulting with my sweet 70+ yr old neighbor, we concocted a method to cook it in a 9 by 13 instead. (Sorry, Sharon! *wink*) But...

OH! MY! WORD!

Can I suggest Sharon's other recipes which she has started a habit of posting on Tuesdays? How 'bout her greens and cornbread? Or how 'bout her no-Peek Chicken & Rice Casserole? Another one I've yet to try is her chocolate chip pancakes! Here's a fruit salad recipe that sounds interesting.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Sharon for a wonderful dessert!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Summer Ice Cream Anyone?

For more Wordless Wednesdays, go here.

God's Fingerprints - part two

So, I stayed home...and stayed home...and stayed home...and didn't get pregnant. I started thinking that maybe I hadn't heard God right! LOL But, our infertility struggles were a crash course in faith, patience, and waiting on the Lord's timing and taught me more about God in those 25 cycles than I could have learned any other way. God's fingerprints were all over it. But that's another story.

Then, on that 26th cycle...a miracle. And, Flicka joined our family the following year. Then, after being told there would be no way for us to conceive without intervention and while I was still nursing Flicka...another miracle. Then, Pojke joined our family the next year.

So, I've been home since May 2001. Things have been difficult at times - particularly financially. But, I've carried on, cut corners, and cut coupons because I knew that I knew that I knew that the Lord was happy with this situation. Needs were always met. His fingerprints were all over it.

But, then things got *really* tight after Pojke was born. We were down to one vehicle. We had moved into a bigger home since we had been living in a one-bedroom "bachelor bungalow" where Flicka's nursery was 6ft by 10 ft as the former enclosed back porch which DaHubby gutted, studded, wired, and drywalled for his baby girl. We worried about the kids' safety stuffed in the back of that small car...especially when Pojke outgrew his "infant" car seat at about 4 months! So, a mini-van followed. Eventually, the bank started calling about "problems" with our account...

So, we prayed for God's will to be revealed in the situation. Should DaHubby take a second job? Should I go back to work? Where can we cut MORE corners? We turned off the cable. We stopped eating out...at all...no eating with the rest of DaHubby's family after church each Sunday...no snacks when traveling...or any occasional trips to McDonald's. We grew a garden. We started doing Angel Food. I started learning how to sew and do canning. We considered home businesses - either for me or for DaHubby. And, we kept praying..."God, please provide for us and this situation. It's within Your power to guide us to becoming debt-free. Show us the way." And, while I said nothing to DaHubby, I *really* did not want to go back to work unless I absolutely had to. We were searching for God's fingerprints again...

To be continued...

God's Fingerprints - part one

(I was going to try and get this all down in one post but with Sara's good example with telling of her youngest's birth story (*wink*) I'll do it in parts today as I get the chance. Thanks for your patience!)

I can see the fingerprints of god
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of god
And I know it’s true
You’re a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you’re covered with the fingerprints of god

In this case, it was a "what" instead of a "who".

Despite the best intentions of my parents (who were probably initially mortified at the thought of what their eldest, independent daughter was considering), I decided to walk away for an undetermined amount of time from a budding and promising career in teaching once DaHubby and I met. From the day we met until 345 days later when we wed, God did an amazing work in both of us. I have never felt such a move of God in my life until that point. It was clear to me that DaHubby was an answer to prayer. God's fingerprints were all over it.

Before our meeting, DaHubby had been "off the wagon" in terms of church attendance. I was attending church regularly but didn't feel the "fit" or the "fire" where I was worshipping that I so longed for. We were perfect complements to each other - DaHubby gave the fire of his Pentecostal background to me and I gave him back his regular attendance! LOL

We were married 2 weeks before the end of a school year. After much conversation, prayer, and consideration, we decided that I would finish that year of teaching and then I would not work in the fall, I would stay at home, and I would start having babies! Despite the idea going against everything I had been taught and experienced, I really felt deeply that this is what God wanted me to do. His fingerprints were all over it!

to be continued...

Monday, July 16, 2007

A "Read Together" Review

Jennifer at Snapshot started a summer read-together-with-your kids program about 2 weeks ago. She is focusing on ages 6 and up but Flicka and I joined in anyway! LOL Jennifer also asked that we post reviews of the books we read so here's our first!

Flicka and I read through
The Treasure Tree by Gary Smalley and John Trent. This was our first "chapter" book! And, we read it for this challenge as well as part of our local library's summer reading program which includes ages 18 months up to soon-to-be 8th graders. Many thanks to our wonderful library for carrying this book - since it would appear that we will be getting our own copy ASAP! LOL

We read a chapter at night before bed. This book is supposed to be for ages 4 to 8. This might explain why Flicka (at 3 yrs old) initially had a tough time with the transition from the one-whole-story-in-one-sitting thing to a one-chapter-then-we'll-see-what-happens-tomorrow-night structure.

The book has a basic premise: four best firend are sent on a "quest". If I remember correctly (the book's already been returned to the library), there are 6 chapters: the introduction of the plot and four main characters (a lion, beaver, golder retriever, and otter), then a chapter focused on each character and the challenge they face, and then the conclusion.

I cannot say enough about this book in terms of the spirit in which it was written. A parent could do SO much with it! But, the best things it focuses on are the lessons about working together to achieve a goal and understanding the unique personalities and/or gifts God has given us.

Many of the reviews I read said that their older children immediately recognized themselves in one of the characters. Apparently, this book's character types are drawn closely to the
Myers-Briggs personality test. And, while I never realized the name for this test, I remember working on Lutheran school staff where we took a "quiz" and found out what type of animal we were.

And, I found resources online that suggest that the four animal characters also can relate to four Bible believers and their different styles: lion (Paul), otter (Peter), golden retriever (Moses), and beaver (Timothy)...another teaching opportunity in this book!

Anyway, Flicka never seemed to grab the whole bigger concept but definitely liked the story. She talked about it each day and asked for each new chapter every night. Definitely a plus! LOL

And, I found out afterwards that there is
a sequel that we'd like to pick up as well.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this book...even if you start it a little early as we did. I'm hoping Flicka will "grow" into it and that Pojke will appreciate it as well! I don't know what we'll readnext - yet! But, we're due for a library run on Wednesday and I'm hoping to find something then.

If you are interested in what other folks have read, check
this post for reviews. And, if you are interested in jumping on board, here is Jennifer starting post!

Happy Mandag! - updated

Just popping in for a sec...small prayer request. I have a meeting in an hour that will resolve a pending, been-kinda-holding-up-our-life question. Pray for my peace, calmness , and non-nervousness (LOL) as well as for, ultimately and obviously, God's will! *wink*

Update: Well, I'm home. I guess it was premature to say things would "resolve" today. But, I've been told that I should know by the end of the week. Thank you for your prayers. Finally got hold of His peace as I arrived at the office. God had opened mulitple doors and windows so far for this set of circumstances to proceed so I figured that if this is His will, this should be no problem!LOL

The Vikings ran DaGrandma and DaPapa ragged while I was gone and a promise of a Dairy Queen last night was remembered by Flicka (LOL) so we're off to get something to eat. When I get the Vikings down for a nap, I'll be back with a full explanation...I hope! *wink*

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Indication I can never leave home again...(LOL)

...because I had nearly EIGHTY posts to check on Bloglines after only being away 52 hours! *wink* Y'all just WRITE TOO MUCH! LOL

Seriously, we got home safe and sound last night around 6pm. Fun had by all. The kids were angels (until the ride home) despite unfamiliar environments and off-kilter schedules. Pics and stories to come.

DaHubby had intermittent cell service while he was canoeing 50+ miles so we knew he was doing fine as well. Unfortunately, the canoers woke up to a driving rain Saturday morning and, after a cold breakfast, they were paddling before 7am. Due to their early start, they pushed and pushed and ended up paddling 13 hours - a two day paddle! They arrived back at their origin point around 11pm and promptly drove home! LOL DaHubby crawled into bed around 3:15am.

So, with two bleary-eyed parents (Flicka woke me up twice before DaHubby got home and then Pojke was up at 6:30am), we are all about to walk out the door for church where no one is expecting to see us! LOL The kids got good sleep (kinda) so hopefully things will go smoothly.

Will catch everyone up later...blessings on everyone's day of rejoicing, praising, and worshipping in God's house wherever you are!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

One additional thing...

LOL I'm thankful for the fact that when DaHubby leaves for his guys-only-weekend canoe trip after work today the Vikings and I will be already 2 hours into the 3-hour trip to my parents' side of the state for a few days!

Granny P and Papa D (my mom and step-dad) will host us tonight and Friday night with a possible trip to the Detroit Zoo in between. Then, we'll leave Saturday morning and pop in at Papa B's (my dad's) house on the way back home.

The best part - I'll be driving during what is SUPPOSED to be nap time...BOTH ways... so HOPEFULLY the trip will be peaceful and quiet and only the sound of "zzzz...." coming from the back seat! LOL

Just in case, pray for traveling mercies! *wink* And, we'll be back Saturday night.

Thursday Thanks Tank

Inspired (as always) by Peach and the wonderful ladies at Thankful Thursday! It's been 20 weeks since I started participating and I just counted up that this is my 13th TTT post. Not exactly what I was hoping for but simply being conscious of my blessings has made a H-U-G-E difference! So, for this week...in no particular order:

1. The prayer request I made here is moving forward. I should have a resolution by next week. How this all transpired is an absolute move of God and deserves its own post but suffice it to say I'm thankful for this opportunity which I'll share with y'all soon! *wink*

2. I continue to be humbled and wonderfully blessed by the lengths some of my fellow bloggers will go. Anita checks on me often and has become a regular, constant source of wonderful God-fearin', woman-buildin', faith-growin' advice. Peach commented on this post yesterday that I've been on her mind and she has something coming up that I might be interested in. Beth spent a crazy amount of time this week despite authoring two blogs, building a fence, and digging out after a lengthy vacation helping me start to unravel the mess that's become my email situation.

You three along with my other Faithprints alumnae as well as others: know that you bless me and bring me hope, inspiration, motivation, and a little spring in my step knowing that there are folks out there lookin' after and praying for me.

3. While our porch escapades recently has resulted in DaHubby and I spending less time together, I am SO thankful that it has been completed enough that it's encouraged a new nightly habit of just the two of us sitting out there after the Vikings are in bed in our new-but-we-got-it-on-clearance-at 30-percent-off patio furniture to talk and wind down from the day.

4. That my debut as newsletter editor for our local MOMS Club chapter went over really well! Everyone seems thrilled with its new format and layout!

5. Another item that deserves its own post because it was just covered in God's fingerprints...I'm thankful for a positive outcome on a crucial banking problem that popped up last weekend!

6. Thankful that Pojke seems to be back running at 110% and that Flicka seems to have "missed" the strep throat Pojke and I have been fighting.

7. Not trying to give her a big head and all but Anita...again! LOL I finally got around to using the Amazon gift certificate she awarded me in her recent giveaway. How simple but how fun to wait for a new book to come in the mail! *wink*

8. And, last but definitely not least, the two most important men in my life: Jesus and DaHubby! *wink* In your own ways, you both carry me through each moment, each day, each week. Thank you, Lord, for all the precious and irreplaceable things You have done for me and thank you for this man who shows me Your love on this earth!

Go see what Peach is thankful for today (and try not to be jealous by her AMAZING recent experiences LOL) and don't forget to go say hi to Iris and the ladies at Thankful Thursday!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Email issues running amuck...

Do ya' ever just love the way a word sounds? LOL I love "amuck"! LOL

Anyway, if it were up to DaHubby, he would have scaled the walls of our ISP and domain providers by now in Viking fashion and took whatever the Swedish equivalent to a Scottish claymore is to the neck of the next person who answered customer service.
Ouch!

We found out that
GoDaddy.com - from whom we purchased the lovely northernbranches.com domain we so lovingly took MONTHS to pick out - has decided (in the interest of "saving" its customers from SP*M and vir*ses) that it will no longer allow ANY emails through (including my notifications that someone has commented) from Blogger and/or with Blogger hyperlinks and/or ANY hyperlinks for that matter. *sigh*

The dippy teenager professional customer service representative DaHubby yelled and argued conversed with informed him tough cookies that he may want to contact Blogger and ask them to discontinuing using hyperlinks in its emails.

Yea, right! We'll add that to our "might as well be banging our head on a brick wall" list. *sigh*


So, not sure how this will all pan out. My personal/"private" email address seems to have been freed up. But, the address I use only for this blog still seems to still be locked up tight.

I'll keep ya updated of any changes. And, just by the way, we will not be recommending GoDaddy or be appearing in any of their TV or print advertisements anytime soon! *wink*